Eulogy to His Eminence Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr
By Christopher Asiedu, a Journalist.
His Eminence Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr. He was born into a Catholic family more than six decades ago, ordained as a priest in 1987 in his youthful age, appointed as Bishop of the Wa Diocese of the Catholic Church in 2016 and elevated to the high priestly office of Cardinal last year, 2022. But, he did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his service and dedication to the Catholic Church. He died in Rome, Italy in November, last year on a mission to the Vatican, after a short illness. The Catholic faithful in Ghana and the Wa Diocese in particular, had wished he would have lived long to develop the Church more. They however have to take consolation in what the scriptures have prescribed in Ecclesiastes Chapter Three versus One and Two, that “To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted.” Indeed, the Christian world believes that in creation, God decides whatever happens at any time. To the Catholic faithful, the late Cardinal Baawobr had not toiled in vain, but like Saint Paul, had ran a good race and deserved a crown for the hard work.
The 63 year-old Richard Kuuia Baawobr dedicated his life, not only serving the Catholic Church in Ghana and Africa, but also in Europe and the rest of the world. His love for humanity and pastoral work was immeasurable, as his face beamed with a smile to receive every soul in the interest of God’s work whilst he was alive. He was a motivator, peace-maker, an Administrator par excellence, a devout churchman and a dedicated relative of his family. He has indeed left an indelible mark in the hearts of many people. The late Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr was born to Catholic parents on 21st June, 1959 in Tom-Zendaagagn in the Ko Nativity of Our Lady Parish in the Nandom Municipality of the Upper West Region. He had his elementary education in his home village, Tom and later gained admission to Saint Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Wa. After successfully obtaining the GCE “O” level certificate in 1977, he proceeded to the Nandom Secondary school for the GCE “A” level course. The late Cardinal was later admitted into the Saint Victor’s Major Seminary in Tamale in 1979 to pursue his journey towards priesthood. Prior to his ordination as a Priest in his home parish of Tom in the Wa Diocese in 1987, he had the feeling of God’s call to be a Missionary.
His Eminence Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr joined the Society of Missionaries of Africa working in Livulu in the Kinshasa Diocese in DR Congo on his first appointment as a priest. He later served in Tanzania after a series of training in Europe. Between 1999 and 2004, he was the Director of the Theology Formation Centre of the Missionaries of Africa in Toulouse, France. He obtained a Doctorate degree in Biblical Theology from the Toulouse Catholic Institute in 2004. He had many publications in Theology to his credit. The Late Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr was elected the first Assistant General of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa in 2004 and six years later became the first African to hold the position as the Superior General of the Society. He was ordained the new Catholic Bishop of Wa in May 2016 after the retirement of the then substantive Bishop, the Most Rev. Paul Bemile.
On 4th July,2020, the Holy Father Pope Francis appointed the Most Rev. Richard Kuuia Baawobr, a member of the Pontification Council for promoting Christian Unity. Two years later, he was elevated to the office of Cardinal by the Papacy in the Consistory. He was elected the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar SECAM, making him the first Ghanaian Bishop to hold that position since SECAM was formed over 60 years ago. He died in Rome at the Agostino Gemelli University Hospital Polyclinic on 27th November, 2022. He was the third Ghanaian Cardinal to be appointed by the Vatican after their Eminence the late Peter Cardinal Dery and Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson. Indeed the Universal Catholic faithful have lost a jewel, a leader and apostle. The Vatican, the Society of African Missionaries, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar will remember him for his efforts to build good relationships between the Catholic faithful and Muslims around the globe.
The Wa Diocese recalls his initiatives to establish a good welfare package for Retired Priests of the Catholic Church in the Diocese. As the living retrace the footprints of the late Cardinal, it becomes worthy of reflection to recount his tireless efforts to improve the standard of living of the people, change some traditions of the Church, revolutionize the administration of the Church in the Diocese and his dedication to Small Basic Christian Community Outreach Programme. Cardinal Baawobr believed that pastoral work would be more effective if the word of God is shared among small communities to understand the Bible well.
As a man of peace he admonished all religious adherence to live in peace and harmony .
“Fare Thee Well”, Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr.
Written By: Christopher Asiedu, a Journalist.